Remove Clutter and Donate at the Same Time

What a great time of year to clear clutter!

By following a few simple tips you can get rid of the clutter, keep your stress level at a minimum, and breathe easy knowing you have just created a whole lot of space in your home. This means less to dust, more organization in your closets, and yes, less stress. Why less stress? All too often we walk into a room, see clutter, cringe, and subtly remind ourselves that we ‘need to clear the junk out’. So why not get started and enjoy your clutter-free home zone?

Be mindful when separating junk from usable items. If donating, make sure that clothes, shoes and furniture are in decent condition. Being the recipient of gently-used furniture and clothing means more than you can imagine by those who have very little.

Where to start? Anywhere! Pick the room with the least amount of clutter first, then start small within that room – such as a drawer, desk or counter top. Then check under the bed (if you store things there), the closet, or cupboards (depending on which room you’re in).

How much time should I spend de-cluttering? Start with 10-15 minutes maximum. This gives you a sense of accomplishment without overwhelming you to the point you’d rather not even get started. You’d be amazed at how much you can clear out in 15 minutes.

What to get rid of? In every room start with the most obvious things like extra bags from shopping, packaging materials from store purchases, hangers, old magazines and newspapers, bottles, pencils and pens, clothes that no longer fit, torn or stained clothes, old underwear, worn out shoes, old towels, outdated electronics, makeup and other personal items. Removing these things alone can fill a few bags.

Tips for Removing Clutter and Donating:
Set an alarm for 15 minutes. When it goes off, you’re done for the day! You’d be surprised how quickly you can fill up a bag of junk.

Separate recyclable from non-recyclable items, and usable from non-usable clothes.

Have an item you can’t bear to part with even though you haven’t used it in years? If in good shape and it’s something you love, give it to someone who will appreciate it. Seriously – having just done this recently with a number of items in the home, this works. You don’t miss it, your item will be used by someone who needs it, and you’ve opened up space in your home.

For personal items, go through them and look for chemicals like parabens and dyes in the ingredients. Anything toxic doesn’t belong on your body. Toss it.

Junk drawers should be ‘go to’ drawers – keep a spare set of scotch and mailing tapes, scissors, pens and pencils, a couple markers, a small flashlight and batteries, maybe a few hooks for planters and such. Not much more is really needed in a junk drawer, so toss the rest.

In the kitchen toss old food (yes canned and boxed goods get old). Any pots, pans or utensils you haven’t used in a couple of years you probably will never use – get rid of them. Too many coffee cups? Get rid of them.

Clothing is probably is the most challenging of all to throw away, but the options of putting them to good use are many. Very old clothes can be thrown out, but anything that’s outdated and in good shape can be donated to a local second-hand shop or shelter, or given to a friend in need. The same goes for shoes, boots, purses, gloves/scarves/mittens/hats.

Furniture like chairs, tables, foot and bar stools, trays and couches can be donated to those less fortunate.

Office/Desk clutter should be done weekly. Most of the time it’s extra scratch paper, sticky notes, bills that need to be filed. Done once a week you can keep desk clutter to a minimum.

There are numerous organizations in Illinois that will come to your home and pick up items as well. If you choose to do this, make sure you take a picture of what you donate so you can claim them as taxable donations.

These are just a few of the available donation websites we use – you can get more ideas for donating here:
AMVETS of Illinois
Donation Town (Chicago)
Donation Illinois (Epilepsy Foundation)